Design & DIY

5 basic rules of bedroom decorating

How you should outfit your bedroom really depends on the room: Is it spacious or small? Does it double as your reading nook or home office? Is there plenty of storage space?

While all of these factors affect how you decorate your room, the basic function of the bedroom remains the same for everyone: to sleep. With that in mind, here are five basic tips to follow when designing your bedroom.

Focus on the focal point

In any bedroom, the focal point will be the bed. With everyone’s eyes instantly taking to the bed, you want to make sure it suits the space. Of course, a good mattress, set of sheets, pillows, and comforter are important, but the bed frame plays a significant role in structuring the room. If you have low ceilings, choose a low headboard. If you have high ceilings, opt for a four-poster bed that will fill the space, or an ornate sleigh bed to create an impact. If your room is small, you might want to consider a comfortable day bed placed sideways along a wall. 

Choose a wall colour that’s right for you  

There are two leading philosophies on what colours best suit bedrooms. Some designers believe a calming palette of neutrals is ideal because it helps create a soothing, calming, and relaxing atmosphere. Soft blues, greens, and buttery yellows also help spaces seem more peaceful. On the other hand, some designers will suggest creating an accent wall with a pop of bold colour or a quirky patterned wallpaper to serve as the focal point. If you already have furniture and accessories, pick a wall colour that will complement and then add related or monochromatic colours when accessorizing. Related colours are found next to each other on the colour wheel, while monochromatic colours are of the same hue. 

Avoid over-matching

You know what makes a room look old-fashioned and hotelesque? Over-matching. While at one time matching bedroom sets were all the rage, they now seem outdated. Rather than the same night tables flanking your bed, how about two different tables but in the same finish, height, or style of legs. To create cohesion, choose the same lamps for each table. Mix in modern pieces with family heirlooms and vintage finds. Remember, your home’s furnishings should look like they were accumulated over time—not picked out in one day at the furniture store. 

Keep proportions in mind

Your furniture should fit the size of the room. While it may be tempting to squish a king-size bed, a huge bookcase, and an oversized dresser into your compact space, interior designers suggest choosing furniture that’s in proportion to the room. For example, if you have a smaller room, forgo the classic night table and install a floating shelf and a sconce to increase square footage next to the bed. If you have a large, open room, opt for big statement pieces—like high headboards and graphic rugs. Another quick tip: never hang artwork that’s larger than the furniture below it. It makes the artwork look too heavy and overbearing for the room.

Add texture

Make your bedroom more dynamic by adding different textures. And no, we don’t mean installing shag carpet. There are plenty of ways to add playful textures, such as layering accent pillows in different shapes and fabrics on the bed or enhancing a reading chair with a fluffy throw. Natural materials like wood desks and woven baskets also add an outdoorsy, tactile element.


Want to put these tips to use in your home or cottage? Find everything you need to love your space here: